It is hand carved out of fossil mammoth ivory—ancient ivory whose composition has changed from ivory to mineral.
Ancient walrus and mammoth tusks are dug out of the permafrost or bone mounds by Alaskan and Siberian natives annually during the summer thaw and sold to subsidize their family or village income. Dave buys ancient mammoth and walrus ivory shards from the St. Lawrence Island area ivory co-ops.
Despite how hard the fossil is, it feels delicate and light in my hand and the tips come together perfectly. Dave also made it exceptionally smooth so that it feels warm and comfortable in my hand.
The shuttle is 2 5/8″ long, 5/8″ wide and only 1/8″ thick at the middle. It is a very shallow shuttle so it does not hold as much thread as I would like for larger projects, and I do tend to use it for my larger doilies, but I like how it feels so much that it compensates for a small supply of thread. As you can see in the photo above, I often wind it so that the tread bulges out the sides to try and fit as much thread on it as possible.
I love using this gem for some of my best tatting projects, and it is now engaged along with my ebony shuttle in working on a Jan Stawasz doily that I have special plans for. See, this is why I need several shuttles, as several get tied up in long term projects. Pun intended.